Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Arn't I a Woman?

With allegations of sexism from the Clinton camp permeating our every day conversations - you just have to watch a news show or read a newspaper to know what I am talking about - I have recently been thoroughly reconsidering what being a woman means to me. My opinions have long been informed by all the feminist theory I have been exposed to (shout out to Bordo et. al) but there is a great deal of personal experience that shapes (or should shape) the way I view the topic. I also felt that in a post-modern world it is near impossible to assign neat labels to every experience and I still have my reservations about characterizing an institution (eg. society, marriage, the dem party) as a "patriarchal" one and any resistance to such a "feminist" one. 

But that is as far as I ever did go and by doing so, created a nice warm comfort zone. I took comfort in my conclusion that you can't make generalizations on the many narratives of womanhood and agreed to leave the topic in limbo - society is neither one way or the other. Womanhood is neither this nor that. It is the language of escapism, and as anyone who has ever experienced it knows, there is nothing easier than to just push it all aside and pretend that you do not have to deal with it. 

And can you really blame me? Feminism is a multiply-incarnated rebel and the moment you buy into one version, there is an entirely different one asking you to smash the old idols. And we see this everywhere, even outside academia. Yet, while so many were willing to enter themselves in this conversation (Jesus, even MPK put his two cents in) I was content in not making any decisions for myself. 

That was until I read this article in the NYT on Muslim women and virginity. I do not know where exactly it has lead me, but it certainly gave me something to think about. We have all heard about this hymen reconstruction and as a Muslim myself, I can relate on some level to the women. Obviously, I have a particular aversion to articles like these written by privileged liberals (all high and mighty and informed by their western paradigms) taking on other people's cultures to trial. But for some reason, this time, something made me tick and I have a feeling I will be emerging soon enough from my careless reverie.

No comments: